Athletes, businessmen, educators. The competitive edge is a common goal. The deep down desire to accelerate speed, sales, or student growth – this is a good thing. But a coin has two sides.

Tails:

The competitive edge has an ugly side, aside well-known in the world of sports and business. But how about in the world of ed-tech? Is there an ugly side and what does it look like?

Well, you can look to Hoboken, NJ for one answer. This district is admirably sharing their experience with ed-tech implementation so others can learn from it.

Although more subtle, the desire to advance learning using ed-tech can be just as damaging when technology implementation lacks a grounded purpose. Like a ship without a destination, teachers can be left navigating their students everywhere, but nowhere at the same time.

There also lies the possibility of cognitive overload. The principle of an athlete’s body breaking down when asking it to do more than it’s capable of can also be applied to teachers who experience the added load of hasty ed-tech integration when not given adequate support and time for its implementation. Rather than accelerate student growth, this can consequently impede it.

So, how can we prevent coming away from the ed-tech movement feeling like a whipped dog with its tail between its legs? In the quest to move students forward, perhaps the answer can be found in rewinding.

 

Heads:

It seems to make a lot of sense to use our heads and look back at the specific practice’s research tells us most positively impacts student learning. John Hattie, among others, have demonstrated these effective practices.

For their powerful influence on student achievement, formative assessment and feedback are among the top of the list.  Both intertwine, as formative assessment involves assessing student understanding and learning before or during the learning process, and based on these assessments, feedback moves students towards specific learning goals and outcomes.

Therefore, when looking to integrate ed-tech, its implementation should be aligned with established best practices. Educational technology, like  Chronicle, is solely devoted to helping teachers advance classroom best practices.  Various other ed-tech tools can also be used to help bridge the gap needed to move students toward more challenging learning goals, but the point is that the field of education should invest in technology that mediates proven methods for promoting student learning.


Of course, all involved in education wish for high student achievement, but before tossing educational technology into the wishing well, it seems prudent to avoid relying on good luck, but rather on good classroom practices instead.